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Thread: Suse's Birth Story - a little gruesome in parts, and long too

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    Default Suse's Birth Story - a little gruesome in parts, and long too

    Well, I started writing this very long story in full detail and got up to the first two hours and was up to about 14 pages (OK, a slight exaggeration). Some things are better left to memory, so I thought I'd give a highlights package instead. It?s still really long and there are some bits that some might find a bit yuck...

    Monday 26/11/07.

    After 4 weeks of pre-labour contractions and other 'will he or won't he' symptoms, the Little Man was due for induction on Wednesday 28th November 2007, at 12 days past due date. All manner of attempts to coax him out of his comfortable little nest in time to avoid induction and have a natural (hopefully waterbirth) had thus far produced a show the previous day, but apart from three batches of steadily increasing regular contractions up until 10pm Monday night, nothing had happened that said 'this is IT'...



    Tuesday 27/11/07.

    At 3:00am Tuesday morning contractions started in earnest - by about 9:00am they were at 5 min apart and we shuffled off to hospital. I'd spent the first few hours trying to get back to sleep, then came out by myself and started using the gym ball. My partner woke at about 7:00 and we went for a walk - it was a cool morning (by Nth Queensland standards) and the hills were covered in mist. It was so beautiful and peaceful - a wonderful start to the labour.

    Upon arriving at hospital we got settled into a surprisingly cosy room with all of the things conducive to a lovely natural birth - my own oil blends for massage and burning, birth mat, ball and bean bag, a shower and the use of the big bath in the room next door for when I needed it. I had a wonderful midwife (by the end of it I had had four wonderful midwives, all of whom were amazing in their own way) - she had been at my first antenatal appointment and was delighted to be sharing my birth. We set up a little nest where I could move and change positions easily and started with me on all fours being massaged by DP as the contractions became more intense. I was really enjoying working through each contraction, I had a wonderful partner to share this experience with and felt our bond strengthening with each contraction as he helped me work through them, but things were not to progress in the way I was expecting. Over the next 19 hours labour stopped and started many times, I progressed very slowly but with strong contractions and soon became exhausted - still at 2cm dilation, bubs was still posterior and didn't show any sign of movement.

    The hoped for natural birth became a litany of all the drugs and interventions under the sun, as we worked through all of the options to help me deal with the pain and exhaustion. Each time labour stalled or problems were encountered all of the different options were discussed in detail. I never felt that any option was pushed upon me - I made my own choices and everything was done to avoid more interventions. If anything, I was the one doing the asking - the hospital respected my wishes and did not offer any drugs - and they always gave me an alternative when I asked what my options were. We started with tomazapan (sp) to help me sleep for a few hours, I woke up disoriented an hour later but with no relief from the contractions - still only 2cm dilation. I found it nearly impossible to focus through the contractions as I had been previously, although I tried different positions on 'land' and in the shower I think that the exhaustion was getting to me. At midnight I decided to try pethidine and this gave me about 3.5 hours of painfree sleep, but the contractions had intensified when I woke, and my waters broke not long afterwards.

    About 1 hour later (at 4:30am on the Wednesday morning) I opted for an epidural after trying the bath at 4cm dilation. I felt such screaming agony that when the bath was filled for me (I was still ever hopeful), I sat in it for one contraction and then begged for anything to take the awful awful pain away. I still remember the look on DPs face at this point - he was so encouraging and calm but he could really see that I was in distress. I think that this was the point that I knew that things weren't progressing normally - I don't know why but I just knew something wasn't right. I was exhausted and in tears, and after confirming that this was really what I wanted, the anaesthetist was called. Although I was terrified of the epidural and knew the path it could lead me down the relief was incredible, and I managed to doze for a few hours whilst the contractions played on in the background. I woke at one point in real pain - because I'd dozed for about an hour and a half I'd not been self dosing during this time. At this point - I think it was about 10:00am (I had totally lost track of time by this point) I was at 10cm dilation. I felt more positive and felt like things could really start to progress.

    The epidural was eased off so that I could start pushing. Things were going well, even though the contractions were incredibly strong, when I strained a muscle in my chest - every time I breathed I got a stabbing pain in my chest - combined with the pain of the contractions I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I knew rationally that I wasn't but I was starting to get really distressed. I still think that I knew instinctively that things weren't going right. I remember crying and crying in pain and saying that I couldn't do this anymore (especially as every breath gave me such pain that I found it hard to push) I think that I said a couple of times that he was going to need to be cut out. As bubs was still showing no signs of distress and I had been pushing well we decided to ease back onto the epidural, just enough to dull the contraction pain but not enough to stop me from pushing. I think they also tried syntocinon to help amplify the contractions. This worked really well, I still had the pain in my chest to deal with but this was manageable without the combined pain of the contractions. I pushed for nearly two and a half hours, but still bubs would not progress past my pelvis. The midwives were as determined as I to keep trying everything possible to deliver him vaginally, and whilst bubs was not distressed this was fine, but his heartbeat had started to drop and they were starting to get concerned. Throughout this DP was by my side, encouraging and supporting. He was so amazing ? even just thinking about it gets me really emotional.

    The obstetrician was called, a lovely lovely woman who was very supportive, she checked his position hoping to at least be able to try for an instrumental delivery. She said that he was very well wedged into the top of the pelvis and that she didn?t think it would be safe to try an instrumental delivery and that bubs was starting to show signs of distress, so preparations were made for an emergency c/s. The ob said that she would investigate during the surgery and see if there was any reason (other than being posterior) that he was getting stuck. The midwife who had spent the last four hours with us (an amazing woman) would accompany us in the surgery and DP would be at my side.

    I was wheeled down to theatre 10 minutes later. DP was prepared outside, and I was taken in to the ante-theatre. The anaesthetist decided to use the existing epi site and prepared the drug. Because I?d been nauseous and vomiting since receiving the epi and had already had several doses of maxilon which hadn?t worked, this was topped up. I was taken into theatre and DP joined us, the screen was put in place and the surgery commenced. I was shaking uncontrollably from the epidural and although I was told that I wasn't shaking where the epidural was in effect, it was quite disconcerting. The nausea still hadn't gone away, but apart from that I found the surgery fascinating. Not surprising really, in spite of having the big screen up so that we couldn't see any of the gory details, we could see them all anyway in the reflection from the big theatre lights, it's really weird being able to see your own insides... About 10 minutes later (I think), I was told that they were going to be taking out little man, because he was so wedged into the pelvis they had to tug and pull at him quite a bit to get him out.

    A minute later we heard this little wail and realised that we had a baby. It was the most indescribable feeling so I?m not going to even try. I think I burst into tears and he was brought over for us to have a look at. DP was able to hold him and brought him up to my face to kiss. He had the most beautiful little face, and a cone head like you wouldn?t believe from banging his head ? almost literally up against a brick wall. Poor little man. I was in such awe of what we had made.

    He then needed to get taken to the special care nursery - apparently I had a temperature (I'm still not quite sure why), and he did too. I?d already asked DP if he could go with him if he had to be taken away, but as they were preparing to leave, the anaesthetists started prepping another cannula site, saying that I was losing a lot of blood and needed to give me an infusion. DP had to stay for a moment to help hold my hand because I was still shaking from the epi and I cannulate very badly at the best of times. After two goes (my fourth cannula in a matter of hours) the cannula was finally in and DP was whisked off to the nursery with bubba. Poor DP, he had barely left my side in the last 29 hours and the last thing he hears when he leaves is how much blood I'm losing. At this point the nausea kicks back in with a vengeance, and then they tell me that they?ve had to take out my uterus.... WTF!!! Did I hear that right...? The midwife/obstetrician/whoever had said it (I was losing track of people what with all of the masks) apologised profusely and said that the end of the sentence was "so, you'll feel a few tugging and pulling sensations while we clean up in there and put it back in again". So I'm lying there, with my uterus outside my body, able to see it in the reflections of the overhead light - very surreal that was, luckily I'm short sighted so it wasn't in too much detail but I did find it fascinating - shaking uncontrollably and realise that the nausea is getting worse and I'm going to vomit. So I have someone with a vomit bag in front of my face, which I was just able to turn to the side, someone else with an aspiration tube just in case, a lovely guy holding and stroking my hand, trying to vomit without being able to move my stomach muscles as a major part of my body had been temporarily removed and trying not to panic. A fleeting fear that I was going to end up one of the unlucky ones crossed my mind and I thought of DP with our new baby boy and willed myself not to choke. But apart from that it was so surreal that I actually found it fascinating - the team of people working on me were fantastic, so professional yet so supportive.

    Finally I was stitched and moved to recovery, and then finally to a room in the maternity ward. I lay there in a bit of a daze whilst they let DP know that I was back from recovery. As it turned out, it had taken me quite some time to get to recovery and somehow he had not been told. Nearly two hours after leaving the theatre he asked the special care midwives if they could check on me and found out that I'd been in recovery for about 15 minutes. This must have been such an anxious wait for him but he was able to spend it with bubs. I waited in the maternity ward for about 10 minutes whilst arrangements were made to bring bubs in to see me. DP brought him in, his little arm was hooked up to an IV ? apparently he inherited his mum?s bad veins and was not easy to cannulate either, and because I couldn't move and was still really really out of it DP held him up to me so that I could have a little (sort of) cuddle. I found out that he was 4.2 kg and 53.5cm long. No one could work out how I'd managed to grow such a biggun! Even with the cone head he had such a beautiful face. We got a little bit of time to spend together before he had to be taken back to the special care nursery, it was still so surreal. The obstetrician came in to see me at some point and said that even if he hadn't been posterior and big he wouldn't have fit - apparently I had a previously undiagnosed narrow pelvis. Still a bit blurry on those details though.

    The next few days were difficult. My partner had the day following the birth off, but had to return to work after that. That night, the nursery sent across a polaroid of bub so that I could look at his picture. I think they knew that it was hard to be separated, but even if he had been out of the nursery, there was no way I could look after him that night. I was still hooked up to the epidural, I had two IVs, a catheter and could barely move without assistance. The lovely night midwife came and helped me express colustrum into a syringe so that he could be fed. We'd attempted a breastfeed earlier but he was not attaching, it was all a bit much for him I think. I was allowed up the next morning, getting out of bed took about 10 minutes and I had to be helped in the shower. I was wheeled across to the nursery and we tried feeding again, this time with success. But over the next couple of days I was back and forth to the nursery and we had problems feeding him - he was getting so hungry and my milk still wasn't coming in. In the end it was suggested that we comp feed him as well as continue to breast feed - this broke my heart to do this but it hurt even more to see him guzzle down the bottle - he was obviously so hungry at this point. He was still being kept in special care on IV antibiotics until they were sure that he didn't have an infection - it got harder and harder for me to get to him for feeds before he got so distressed he was inconsolable. It reached a point when I had to leave him in the special care unit knowing that he was going to wake for a feed any minute, but I was in so much pain because I hadn't had any painkillers for nearly 10 hours, and I hadn't eaten anything that day. I was waiting for the painkillers (I am allergic to ibuprofen so had to take opiates and paracetamol only) and the nursery rang, saying that he was awake. I was already in tears from the pain and said that I would come down as soon as I could. The doctor came in and said that there was no way that I could get back to the nursery in the condition I was in, that I needed pain relief and food. I rang the nursery to tell them and could hear him howling in the background. I'm not sure what broke my heart more, hearing him cry or knowing that I couldn't do anything about it. I was just about inconsolable at this point. They had to feed him, and the midwife said that she'd come and see me as soon as she got him settled. An hour later she wheeled him in - I thought for a visit but actually he had just been discharged from special care. I had my bub. He slept for the first few hours - I should have done the same but just couldn't stop staring at him. He was so beautiful and peaceful - although at 10:00pm he turned into demon baby and I got my first taste of an unsettled baby. A bit of a shock to say the least!

    After 5 days in hospital I was allowed to go home - I wasn't sure whether I felt ready - I'd only had my bubs with me for two nights and was still in a lot of pain, but knew that I'd find it much easier at home with my partner to help during the night than in hospital. It was now or never! Euan will be 3 weeks old this coming Wednesday and it is getting a little easier each day. I spent the first week at home in constant tears - but feel a lot more settled within myself now. I think he is starting to be able to visually focus on things now and will look me in the face in such wonder - this is what gets me through the four am feeds and the screaming times when I have no idea what to do for him. My partner and I were able to spend half an hour cuddled up in bed yesterday together - it felt so precious to have a few moments to spend together. Euan is asleep now and I should take the opportunity to do the same, but wanted to finish this some time before Christmas. We've had good days and bad days - both of us. It's so hard to read these little creatures - trial and lots of error is the key I think! There are times when I would love 10 hours of unbroken sleep but I know that this will have to wait for just a while.

    Don't get me wrong - I am not disappointed, bitter or upset at the birth experience I had and I do treasure every difficult moment of it. I know that I worked as hard as I could to birth him naturally but it was not meant to happen that way. I don't feel like I received anything but support and encouragement to keep trying for a natural birth - and was really lucky to have incredible midwives both in the labour and helping me afterwards. I don't feel like I have failed as a woman or a mother by not being able to birth him naturally - I know that without surgery it's unlikely that either of us would have survived. It's just that it is much more difficult to get to know and care for a newborn and recover from major surgery (and a long labour too!) at the same time. It took me a week or two to realise that I was actually more traumatised by the circumstances of the birth than I realised - even though I can rationalise my feelings there is something bubbling away subliminally. Writing the story has helped me come to terms with it.

    But he is so, so worth every bit of it.
    Last edited by suse; December 16th, 2007 at 12:12 PM. Reason: fixing incorrectly transferred text

  2. #2

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    Thats a great story Suse.. you did a marvellous job!!! :-)

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    Dear Suse

    thank you for taking the time to write up your birth story for BB

    and you should be so very proud of yourself for finding positives in what was a marathon labor effort...well done to you!

    I find it always helps to reflect on labor and birth...thinking about it and talking with your DP about the events is special (even if at the time it was a bit distressing)...and at the end welcoming your beautiful boy into the world

    well done yummy mummy...and I hope you have many wonderful days of parenthood ahead of you

    xx yogababy

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    Thanku 4 sharing ur story Suse.Congratulations on ur beautiful little boy & also 4 doing such a fantastic jobU did ur very best & u should b proud of yourself

  5. #5
    slyder Guest

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    Thanks heaps for sharing your birth story, Suse. Yep, it was certainly very full on. I had no idea you'd had such a journey. You seemed to cope with the difficult and gory bits with remarkable bravery and pragmatism. Good on the three of you.

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    Thanks for sharing Suse Congratulations on a beautiful healthy boy You are doing a great job and should be proud!

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    Wow Suse,
    You are a champion.... No way i couldve watched... I'm the rpa watch other people type,but there is no way i could watch a procedure on me...ewwww.
    What an incredible birth story. yo have me totally convinced that women that have to have a ceasar do not get the easier option;it is so much much harder and very taumatic. Blessings to you and your family for babys first christmas

    X Pauline

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    Thanks everyone for your best wishes - it certainly is cathartic getting the story out in the world! But honestly, it wasn't that bad, I reckon there's lots of people out there who go through much worse...

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    Wow Suse, thanks for sharing your story with us. You certainly put your everything into your labour and good on you for realising you did your very best, despite having the c-sect. You should be rightly proud of yourself!! Good luck in your recovery and I hope things go smoothly for the three of you now, you have had the bumpy start so I reckon the rest of the journey aught to be a smooth one to be fair!!!

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    I'm sorry you didn't get the birth you envisioned for yourself but you should be proud of yourself for what you achieved.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    It took me a week or two to realise that I was actually more traumatised by the circumstances of the birth than I realised - even though I can rationalise my feelings there is something bubbling away subliminally. Writing the story has helped me come to terms with it.
    So well written...
    wow, what a woman. Sounds like you had amazing support from ur partner and the midwives etc...
    and you have the amazing gift of a healthy bubba too.
    Thanku for that beautiful story, i'm in tears...
    enjoy ur journey.

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    Thanks for sharing your story. You did an amazing job, well done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sazzafrazz View Post
    you have had the bumpy start so I reckon the rest of the journey aught to be a smooth one to be fair!!!
    LOL Sazz - I had an almost dream pregnancy so I'm sure I don't get out of it that easily! So far he's been pretty cool though - here's hoping he lasts that way until after his teens! His dad and I were both wild children as teenagers so he'll probably take after us in that respect (although we're not sure what he's got to rebel against with us - he'll have to become a conservative teetotaller to really rebel properly!)

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    Thanks so much for sharing Suse - it is really nice to read good and not so good birth stories.... I want to be prepared for anything and I believe this helps. Thanks again and wishing you well.

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    Failure as a woman? I'm very glad you don't feel like that. You are the ultimate definition of a MOTHER.
    I'm speechless (and actually backed away from the 'puter at the uterus bit), you went to ultimate lengths to do the best for your bubba, you should be very proud.

  16. #16
    ~Belinda~ Guest

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    That was an amazing birth story Suse. You did really well. What hospital did you go to? I am also in Brisbane.

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    Suse, OMG what a story. Sounds like you had a tough time of it hun. Huge hugs to you. You did an awesome job sweety.

    I was abit shocked to read that they actually told you they were taking your uterus out. I have heard of them doing it, but to tell you in the middle of theatre !!

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    Thanks for sharing your amazing birth story, you should feel proud of yourself, well done

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